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This snowdrop season


Considering that they’ve been drowned a couple of times in the past two months, my snowdrops have done surprisingly well. The cold, grey weather has kept them in suspended animation and most of them are still looking pretty good.

Last week I was invited to go and look at a local garden where a clump of “yellow” snowdrops has been found. I was able to confirm that they are a good, strong-looking yellow sport of the common snowdrop, properly categorised as Galanthus nivalis Sandersii Group. (The flowers are still predominantly white, of course; the yellow colouration is confined to the inner markings – quite faint in this one – and the little bead-like ovary.) That was quite exciting, as I have only ever found yellow sports as slightly doubtful singletons before (at Easton Lodge, an historic snowdrop garden near Stansted airport). Unfortunately, slugs or snails had also found the flowers very attractive!

Then I was allowed to search through the rest of the woodland, which is carpeted with snowdrops, winter aconites and Leucojum vernum (green-tipped and yellow-tipped), on a gloriously sunny morning, and found a few other interesting Galanthus aberrations.


Poculiform snowdrops, with a normal flower on the right

There were some pretty poculiforms (G. nivalis Poculiformis Group, where the three inner segments of the flower are the same shape, colour and length as the three outers, or almost; see above). Pocs are often noticeable even when the flower is closed by the slight yellowish glow from the stamens inside the flower.

Even more excitingly, I discovered one nice clump of a curious little “tufty” or “fuzzy” double-flowered ‘drop (see below). It’s the first of this kind that I’ve found, although I have found a couple of the more extreme “shaving brush” sort of spiky double in the past. A very good result!


“Tufty” double snowdrops

All photos are copyright © Simon Garbutt. Larger files of these images are available.
Please email me if you’d like to use them elsewhere.


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